Hotlead. My lips are a bit cracked and my throat is sore, but that's from too much talking with everyone and then some very loud shouting and laughing last night with my friends, a beer and some dice, playing Peter and Keith's very nice Battle of Ridgeway game.
I've been quite busy this past month, feeling like one of those chaps spinning the plates in a Chinese circus, (or maybe juggling flaming alligators and chainsaws) so Hotlead wasn't quite as organized this year as usual. I almost had a hair ripping melt down on Thursday as I discovered a major SNAFU, but my lovely helpmate calmly got it all sorted and kept the wheels on the wagon and the ducks back in a row. Fortunately the Game Masters were all very good natured and understanding and rolled with my field improvisations.
My partner Martin was also able to get back to Canada in time to run a booth for J&M Miniatures, so Thursday night (and Friday after leaving the convention!) I was busily packing stuff into boxes and trying to make some paper price lists (with an online store you get used to not price tagging everything and not needing paper lists to refer too). What to bring? What to bring? A little of everything just in case. We sold a lot of 4Ground and PSC and Renedra as I thought we would, but even managed to shift some of the older Wargmes Factory and Warlord Pike and Shotte stuff too. The Maurice line did well too (we're now the Canadian distributor for Sam Mustafa rules). Too bad my big order (mostly Renedra, 4Ground and PSC of course!) for the show got hung up in customs.... But there are some satisfyingly empty spots on the shelves now and some cash to order some new things with. I only needed one lift in the car to get it home instead of the two to get it there (you can pack a surprising amount in an Echo).
The convention however, rolled along quite well. I booked more space for Friday night and that was successful with more games and gamers. Plus Saturday night was quite busy too with more games and gamers than last year as well. The spirit of generosity was present as a Waterloo area gamer loaned out his hex map to a GM from Michigan, with a "I'm going home, just give it to James when you're done and he can mail it back to me."
I haven't counted the tallies yet but we had more than 50 games and around 300 people there. The 10% cut we take from the Bring and Buy which we give to charity came to $830+. Mrs. Rabbitman and I noticed a lot more junior gamers getting to come for the first time with dad this year. So a THIRD generation of Hotlead attendees has begun (since some of the Jr. Gamers we had at the first Hotlead's are now adults and GMing for us!).
All very gratifying.
I also got a bit of a deal on a nice 1/72nd scale resin redoubt from Imex which I can see being occupied by some 15mm Prussian heavy guns and picked up some Osprey's in the Bring and Buy for a paltry $20; Campaign # 107 "Poland 1939" and one of their compendium books "Into the Reich, Battles on Germany's Western Frontier 1944-45".
And I did get to play a game this year! Keith and Peter had been working on a refight of the small, but significant Battle of Ridgeway (2 June 1866). The Canadian Militia fought their first battle against an invasion by the Fenian Brotherhood; a group of Irish-American Civil War veterans, who being drunk and having nothing better to do, decided to take a punch at the hated British by invading Canada. The Canadians, being inexperienced militia performed rather embarrassingly against the veteran Fenians.
Our game, using the Black Powder rules went true to history. Despite really appalling command rolls, we were pressing the Fenians hard and had almost turned their flank when some mounted Fenian scouts appeared and half of my command formed square and it all went pear-shaped. Still, loads of fun and some lovely figures and terrain.
Once I get some links to other folk's pictures I'll post some more.